April 15, 2024

15 Tips to Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine

photo of Allie Baker

Written By

Allie Baker

photo of Mary Stratos, PA-C, IFMCP

Medically Reviewed By

Mary Stratos, PA-C, IFMCP

Lifeforce Physician Assistant

15 Tips to Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine

Spring has sprung, and as the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to change things up in your wellness routine. A new season is the perfect opportunity to incorporate new rituals to re-energize you and spark fresh motivation. 

“Like everything in life, one's wellness needs will never be static. We always need to be practicing creativity and curiosity while exploring new ways to keep ourselves healthy,” says Lifeforce Senior Health Coach Patrick Doyle, who is certified by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. “If you have a solid foundation in the principles of sleep, stress management, exercise, and nutrition, then variety becomes even more important. It is, after all, the spice of life.”

We asked our health coaches how to spice up your health practices for spring, and they shared their go-to simple tips that you can try today. 

15 Ways to Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine 

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Drink Matcha

1. Go green for your caffeine. 

If you struggle with anxiety or you simply want to uplevel your antioxidant intake, try swapping your morning coffee for matcha. You’ll get more benefits with your buzz — minus the jitters that can come from a cup of joe. 

“Matcha is a powder made from finely ground green tea leaves, and it contains some really beautiful health-promoting compounds,” says Lifeforce Health Coach Serena Holtsinger, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Circadian Health Specialist. “Matcha provides l-theanine, an amino acid with stress-reducing effects, and catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which are unique to green teas. In addition to stabilizing harmful free radicals, catechins are known for their anti-cancer and general anti-inflammatory properties. Matcha contains three times the amount of these catechins than regular green tea. Plus, it gives you a productivity boost and instills a sense of grounded energy.”

For optimal flavor and nutrient payoff, Holtsinger recommends reading your labels and choosing a ceremonial-grade matcha that has been tested for heavy metals. 

2. Rise and shine, not scroll. 

Do you reach for your phone before you’ve even gotten out of bed? It’s not just you. A recent survey found that 89% of Americans check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up. Here’s a wake-up call: Studies show that looking at your phone can spike the stress hormone cortisol, prime your brain waves for distraction, and put you on edge for the rest of the day. 

Our coaches suggest looking at the sun instead of the screen. “Getting warm sun in my eyes first thing helps wake me up and set my day on track!” says Lifeforce Health Coach Megan Houser, a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. 

Holtsinger seconds this suggestion. She recommends catching some rays about 40 minutes after sunrise, or when the sun is about 10 degrees above the horizon. “The UVA wavelengths, and others, present at this stage activate a collection of neurotransmitters, hormones, and peptides, like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone, lipotropin, and beta endorphin,” she explains. “In a nutshell, this sunlight signal going into the eyes and on the skin signals to our biology that it's time to feel happy, motivated, energized, and focused, and even fires up our metabolism, improves fat-burning, and regulates inflammation.”

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Touch Grass

3. Touch grass.

While you’re outside in the morning, slip your shoes off. “Getting exposure to morning sunlight while standing in the grass or dirt barefoot allows you to connect with the earth in order to restore the body's natural defenses and promote healing, calmness, and even a reduction in inflammation,” says Lifeforce Health Coach Gina Viviano. 

This practice is called grounding, and studies show that it helps mitigate inflammation, soothe muscle soreness, enhance mood, and even improve heart health

Says Viviano, “I've found the combo of morning sun and grounding to have the strongest calming effect when I'm experiencing stress or anxiety, but I do it every day regardless.”

4. Shop seasonal and local.  

Spring means a fresh crop of seasonal produce — and you’ll get a health boost from the bounty.  “Search for a farmers market near you, connect with your local farmers, and see what kinds of fresh produce they have to offer so you can try new fruits and veggies,” Doyle says. “This is beneficial on multiple levels. It can improve your sense of social connectedness and can expose you to lots of different and exciting new foods!”

Plus, research shows that fresher, seasonal produce retains more nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium than fruit and veggies that are stored at grocery stores. The USDA Farmers’ Market Directory can help you find a market near you, and you can also check out the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide for the freshest picks. 

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Upgrade Your Water Intake

5. Upgrade your H20. 

If you want to increase your water intake, but you’re bored of plain agua, try this infused water trick from Lifeforce Health Coach Jamila Tyson. “My family calls it ‘bougie water’!” she says. 

Her simple recipe: “Clean and slice two organic lemons, an English cucumber, and a handful of cilantro. In a large pitcher, add the sliced lemons and cucumber and cilantro. Fill your pitcher with filtered water, and voila! Bonus: You get vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants.” Another pro tip: To protect your tooth enamel, sip it through a straw due to the acidic nature of lemons when in their natural state. “Put one pinky up for that ‘bougie’ effect!” Tyson adds. 

6. Read a bedtime story. 

Tired of feeling tired? Spring into a healthier sleep routine. “If you're someone who struggles with a 'tired but wired' feeling while trying to fall asleep, this is a sign that the melanopsin receptors in your eyes and skin have picked up on too much blue light, or light in general, during a time of biological darkness after the sun has set,” Holtsinger explains. “In simple terms, this means that your body is confused about whether it should be awake or asleep because blue light (and artificial light in general, especially from LED light bulbs) sends a strong 'wake-up' signal to the brain. Biologically, this triggers the release of cortisol and inhibits melatonin.”

Holtsinger advises to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime, dim the lights, and pick up a book. No Kindles or iPads — “I mean a physical, paper book!” she says. Research shows that reading a book before bed can improve sleep quality and minimize sleep disturbances for more restful zzz’s. 

7. Level up your weight training.  

Make spring your season of strength training. “Try swapping your weekly HIIT sessions for resistance training,” Viviano says. “Strength training promotes hormone optimization and metabolic health, helps build new muscle and maintain existing muscle, and keeps cortisol levels low and in check.” 

Resistance training has been shown to help boost and balance levels of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, human growth hormone (hGH), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF1). Having these hormones optimized is key for repairing and growing muscles, improving body composition, revving fat metabolism, supporting immunity, and scoring a better night’s sleep. 

If you’re new to resistance training — or traveling away from a gym — start with bodyweight exercises. For a quick combo that can be done anywhere, Viviano suggests this circuit: 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 15 glute bridge up-downs, 30-second forearm plank hold. Repeat three times! (Over 40? Find 5 ways to adjust your workout routine here.)

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Go Outside For Your Workout

8. Take your workout outside.

“With the weather changing, we have a great opportunity to get different kinds of movement in,” Doyle says. “Go hiking and look at the wildflowers that are in bloom, go for a bike ride, take some resistance bands to the park. Any way you like to move can be done outside! Being outdoors has excellent positive impacts on our mental health and movement is a foundational practice in living a healthy life.” 

Tyson suggests embracing your inner child and making your workout less work, more play. She says, “Spring is here so, get out your hula-hoops, jump ropes, or go to the park and try out those monkey bars for a fun, yet challenging day of movement.” 

9. Try Taco Tuesdays…or any day of the week!

Add a fun new meal to your recipe rotation. “In my family, we love an easy, crowd-pleasing, and super-nutrient dense dinner that's great for those warmer temperatures,” Holtsinger says. 

She suggests trying these Crispy Salmon Tacos for a meal packed with brain-boosting and anti-inflammatory nutrients like omega-3's, fiber, and polyphenols. “For best nutrient payoff, choose wild salmon over farmed, and use purple cabbage instead of green in the slaw for a major kick of antioxidants,” Holtsinger recommends. 

10. Move after mealtime. 

Take a stroll after you savor your tacos. A quick, even 20-minute, walk after eating can promote healthy digestion, a boosted mood, and blood sugar balance,” Viviano explains. 

A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that when older adults at risk for type-2 diabetes walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes after dining, they had smaller blood sugar spikes in the hours afterwards. In fact, those quick post-dinner strolls were even more effective at lowering blood sugar than a single 45-minute walk taken mid-morning or late in the afternoon.

“If you can't get out and walk, try walking up and down steps in or outside of your house, doing air squats, or even simply standing and moving around your house,” Viviano says. “Movement of any kind after eating is beneficial to your overall health.”

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Grow More Plants

11. Get growing. 

Discover flower power. “Plant a garden if you have the space or just get some flower pots and get some flowers going,” Doyle suggests. “Helping plants grow and flourish requires us to get outdoors to tend to them. This can provide beauty around you and give you a sense of accomplishment.”

Plus, a growing body of research shows the health perks of planting. Studies find that regular gardening may help reduce the risk of dementia, increase serotonin levels to boost mood, and lead to more consistent physical activity. 

“The fun side benefit is that you have just created a new environment to start your breathwork practice,” adds Doyle.  

12. Take a breather. 

Whether you’re in your new garden, at home, or even on the go, start your day — or carve out  a few minutes whenever works best — for intentional breathing. “In the afternoon and evening, or anytime I need to recenter myself, I love to do box breathing as a quick meditation to calm myself and refocus,” Houser says. 

This simple breathing pattern has been shown to improve mood, lessen anxiety, and reduce heart rate variability and respiratory heart rate. 

Here’s how box breathing works: 

  • Step 1: Breathe in, counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.

  • Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. 

  • Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.

  • Step 4: Repeat until you feel calm and centered. 

13. Connect with community.

“Find ways to connect and give back to your community,” Doyle says. “Volunteer at a food bank, help clean up a local park, find a charity you like and participate. This will help you feel connected to your community, and a sense of generosity can bring contentment and increase your happiness levels.”

Giving back can also give you physical health benefits. One study found that adults over 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. Another found that participants who regularly volunteered with altruistic intentions lived longer. It’s a win for everyone.

Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine - Get More Rest and Recovery

14. Schedule in rest. 

We’ve been giving tips on what to do this season — but how about something not to do? “I personally have enjoyed incorporating a ‘not to do list’ in my routine a few times a week or more,” Tyson says. “I schedule it on my calendar for 5-10 minutes, and use this time to pause and do absolutely nothing! Rest, relax, and reset your mind and body this season and beyond.”

15. Take it one day at a time. 

You can also take this opportunity to reset your mindset. Try adopting a new mantra (or get tips here on starting a gratitude practice). When it comes to goal setting and accountability, “My motto is ‘one day ok, two days no way,’" Tyson says. “That means that I am going to make every effort to hit my goals each day. However, life happens, and we have to give ourselves grace, too. If you miss a day of hitting a specific health goal — working out, water intake, meal prep — pivot and aim to not miss more than one day unless you truly have to.”

The goal is to optimize your health for life — not just one season — so take it one step at a time. “Always remember that your health journey is more about progress, not perfection,” says Tyson. “Small, simple steps are more sustainable than aiming to make big changes all at once. As long as you are making progress, even if it's small, you are further off than you were yesterday.”

This article was medically reviewed by Mary Stratos, PA-C, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. 

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